Amazon's new Firefly app will recognize audio, objects, images, and more

Amazon's new visual recognition software lets you scan the things around you and gives you a list of actions to do next.

Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
Jason Parker

Watch this: Amazon debuts Firefly technology

At Amazon's smartphone event today in Seattle, the company showed off more than just a new high-spec handset. The company also showed off Firefly, a visual recognition program that can see objects, QR codes, bar codes, and more.

Going hands-on with the Amazon Fire Phone (pictures)

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Amazon says Firefly is not just limited to codes and objects, however. You'll also be able to scan and identify TV shows and music. When scanning a TV show it not only recognizes the show and gives you actor information; it will actually recognize the episode and scene of the show you're watching. From there you can buy the video straight away.

You also can point Firefly at real-world objects and the app will recognize them and give you options for further action.

You'll be able to point it at a phone number on a sign, for example, and Firefly will ask if you want to call it. You could scan a piece of art, and Firefly will scan its database to bring up a Wikipedia page.

With Firefly, you should be able to point your phone at a product and get more info. Photo by James Martin/CNET

Amazon says Firefly will recognize over a hundred million items and its Fire phone will offer a dedicated button for quick access to the app.

From what we could see on stage, the app worked surprisingly quickly, but we'll have to hold our judgement until we get Firefly in our hands.